Traditional or Block Foiling

Traditional or Block Foiling is one of the most visually appealing embellishments you can add to your printed work and one of our most popular finishing services. This technique uses heat to adhere and metal looking foil to the surface of a substrate (paper, board, plastic) in any given shape. This effect gives a high quality finish, one unrivalled by digital or litho printing methods, making your designs really stand out!

We are able to use many different foils, metallic and pigment colours, as well as holographic and security foils.

Combining foiling with embossing/debossing techniques gives a truly impactful finish on business cards, invites, and brochure covers. Visit Embossing & Debossing for more information.

We offer a flexible service and are happy to take up unorthodox design jobs should you require them.

To find out more about these services take a look at the questions below:


Foiling is the process of adhering a metallic looking film to the surface of a substrate (a paper, board, plastic sheet etc).

A wide range of colours are available, the most popular tend to be golds, silvers, clear and white. There is a more limited colour pallet than the pantone swatches that printers and designers are used to, however. You’re unlikely to find a massive range of different hues of orange, for example, like you would from pantone swatches.

Most foils are glossy and metallic, although there are some satin and matt versions along with pearls and brushed effects. There are also a standard range of patterned holographic foils available.

Substrates that we would foil onto include papers, boards, plastics & laminated sheets. We have foiled on to fabric and leather book covers but this isn’t a routine procedure for us. Still, if that’s what you’re after, get in touch, we can be flexible!

Uncoated papers work the best as these give the greatest contrast between gloss foils and the matt of the substrate. It tends to be favoured for most jobs we foil, but we’re happy to try out foiling on other paper if that’s what your design requires.

Due to the cost of the tools and the way the foil is used in designs it tends to be smaller areas of detail or logos that are foiled. But there is no reason why larger areas cannot be foiled, though large solid areas of foil tend to be a rarity, for design reasons.

Simple solid shapes that avoid fine details work the best; text that does not use fine serifs and that is not in a small point size. Also, as foiling is a different process to printing, registering the foil to the print can cause issues so we would recommend a design that takes this into account and doesn’t require exactingly accurate registration.

Yes, it is quite common to use a couple of foil colours on the same job, just as you would use different colours on a printed job.

Standard holographic wallpaper pattern foils are a good way to add a level of security to tickets and vouchers; they offer an average deterrent against forgery. A better way to secure your item is to have a custom holographic foil manufactured, which will be difficult to copy.

A metal engraved block is used under pressure and heat to push an adhesive backed foil onto a sheet. The foil adheres to the sheet.


Embossing or debossing is the process of deforming a flat sheet of paper to lift or indent it into a desired shape.

  • Embossing is where the readable image is pressed upwards creating a raised readable image.
  • Debossing is where the readable image is presses down creating an indented readable image.
  • Blind embossing is where the embossed sheet is adhered to a 2nd sheet and the reverse indented side of the sheet is then hidden from sight.

A male and female tool are made from metal, engraved to the desired detail required. The substrate to be embossed is placed between the two tools and placed under pressure. The flat substrate then takes on the detail of the two embossing blocks.

We do and it’s a great way to create something special for your invite, though it does add an extra cost so isn’t for everybody. If you want to spend a little more on your invites to create something really unique then we are more than happy to print your item. We’ve done plenty of wedding invitations in the past that involve both embossing and foiling.

Yes, as long as the design is right. The more precise approach is to foil or emboss a flat sheet and make the envelope up afterwards.

Certainly, we can mix foiling and embossing on the same job separately or even foil and emboss the same detail at the same time. The end effect is raised area that catches the light, bringing out the best of both these finishing techniques.

We are always happy to advise so please give us a call and talk to us.

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